Just before the house lights went down, Kerry asked me to give the short version of what Cloverfield was about. You know, just so that if there is anything in 10 Cloverfield Lane that comes up that references the other movie, she could know about it. I told her I’d never seen Cloverfield, and I’m not entirely sure if this is a true sequel or not. And as of this writing, I still have no idea. I skipped Cloverfield when it came out because it seemed like it relied on the novelty of the handheld camera thing too much, which I knew by the virtue of the trailer.
10 Cloverfield Lane, I did see the trailer for, and it did a great job of not explaining anything at all that happens in the film, except that people are trapped inside a doomsday shelter and something bad is outside, and bad things appear to be happening inside too.
The tricky thing about writing about this film is that most of the praise I could give to it goes to it because of the plot, and the plot has so many bends and twists to it that most of what I want to write will wreck any sort of surprise for someone reading this.
So, let’s try to keep this simple:
- I loved John Goodman’s character Howard. He’s well written, well acted, and so many of the dialog choices that are made are incredibly deliberate for advancing the plot or setting up plot for later.
- The plot had me confused about what was true and what was a lie up until the last ten minutes of the film.
- The story is very tightly written. If there is something displayed on the screen that appears to have any significance- it does. If you see it in the first half of the film, even minor things, they’ll appear later in the second half. Either the production team had some of Hollywood’s best editors, or the production team gave their editor nothing to do. I cannot think of even 15 seconds of film that I’d slice out of 10 Cloverfield Lane.
As a post-script- Kerry and I saw this as a sort of double-header with Zootopia. I had initially set out to do one post for both, but found Zootopia to have such an important social message to it that I didn’t want the two to distract from each other.